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In today’s consumer-driven society, many people believe that accumulating wealth and material possessions will bring them happiness. But is this really the case?


According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, people with a higher income tend to report higher levels of overall well-being. However, the link between wealth and happiness is complex.


“The researchers found that the relationship between income and well-being levels off after a certain point, meaning that beyond a certain income level, additional wealth does not necessarily lead to increased happiness,” explains Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“One reason for this may be that people have a tendency to adapt to their material circumstances, whether they are good or bad. This means that although a new car or a bigger house may bring temporary joy, the excitement eventually wears off, and people return to their baseline level of happiness.”


But money can have a more direct impact on well-being through its effect on people’s daily lives. For example, having enough money to afford basic necessities such as food, shelter, and healthcare can reduce stress and improve overall mental health.


On the other hand, financial insecurity and poverty can have detrimental effects on mental health, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.


When we are struggling to pay bills, afford necessities, or save for the future, it can be a constant source of stress and anxiety. This stress can lead to sleep problems, difficulty concentrating and decreased overall quality of life.


On the other hand, when we have financial stability and feel financially secure, we are able to relax and focus on other areas of our lives. We are able to enjoy our hobbies and pursue our goals without the constant worry of financial stress. Good financial health can also lead to a sense of accomplishment and control over our lives, which can have a positive impact on our self-esteem and overall mental well-being.

Adolescents Who Feel Poorer May Have Worse Mental Health 

This relationship between wealth and mental health may be particularly pronounced in adolescents.


A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that adolescents who perceived themselves as being poorer than their peers had worse mental health outcomes, including higher levels of anxiety and depression.


This may be due to the importance of social status and material possessions in the social hierarchies that often form among adolescents. Feeling like they are falling behind their peers financially can lead to feelings of inadequacy and social exclusion, which can have negative effects on mental health.

The good news is that there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the negative effects of financial insecurity on mental health. One approach is to focus on building non-financial sources of well-being, such as strong social connections, a sense of purpose and meaning, and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfilment.


In addition, there are practical strategies that can help alleviate financial stress, such as creating a budget, reducing expenses, and seeking out financial assistance or counselling when needed.


While it is true that money can bring certain benefits and can help to improve overall well-being, it is not a panacea for happiness.


“The relationship between wealth and happiness is complex, and there are many other factors that contribute to overall well-being. By focusing on non-financial sources of happiness and taking steps to manage financial stress, it is possible to improve mental health and overall well-being,” concludes Hewlett.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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